William G. Cutler's History of the State of Kansas


[TOC] [part 5] [part 3] [Cutler's History]


FIRST SETTLERS. - Centre Township: Lenon family in 1855, but who left in 1858. The next were John Nash, William Lamb, A. Packard and W. H. Lamb, in 1858.

Grant Township: T. F. Hersey, in 1856, James Bell and E. W. Bradfield, in 1858.

Liberty Township: C. W. Staatz, 1857; J. F. Staatz, C. F. Staatz and William Brusson, 1858.

Noble Township: G. W. Freeman, John Erwin and the Pritchard brothers, 1858. Union Township: The Kandt family, the Koepkes, and A. S. Blanchett, 1859.

Ridge and Hope Townships: Settled by the Michigan Colony in 1872, among its members being N. Thurstin, D. Cartler. A. Henquenet, M. Chase, and others, about forty in all.

Buckeye Township: M. P. Jolly and J. T. Stevenson, 1869, followed by the Buckeye Colony in 1870, numbering about 200 souls.

Cheever Township: First permanent settler was M. H. Price, 1865. Several attempts at settlement had been made prior to this time, one as early as 1859, by a family named Hevington, from North Carolina, and by a family named Williams, in 1860. The next attempt at settlement in the township was made by two brothers named Murphy, In the spring of 1861. A few months satisfied them and they left in the fall of that same year., The next settler was Mr. Price, in 1865, followed by Robert Kimball and family, in 1866. Mr. Kimball lost his wife by cholera, in 1867, after which he left the county, leaving Mr. Price the sole settler in the township until 1869, when William Warnock and family settled on the claim abandoned by Kimball, and George Shry on the claim abandoned in 1861, by Murphy. Mr. Warnock was drowned that same year in Chapman Creek, after which his family moved out of the township, and Mr. Shry, becoming discouraged moved back to the State he came from, and thus again were Mr. Price and family left the sole inhabitants of the township. In 1870, Eli George, Rev. J. Lattimer and E. W. Dow, and these were followed in 1871, by a colony from Illinois, known as the "Prohibition Colony", organized by Rev. W. B. Christopher, and numbering about fifty souls.

Flora Township: T. C. Iliff, and Harrison Flora, 1870.

Jefferson Township: M. Rubin and C. Hoffman, 1860.

Banner Township: H. H. Nottorf, 1860.

Newbern Township: A. J. Markley and J. W. Shepard, 1859.

Sherman Township: Daniel Jones, 1864, followed soon after by Kerby, Clemens, Smutz, Shields, Dever brothers, Payless and others.

Logan Township: J. G. Miller, William Hitcher, John Erick, D. J. Kimmerly and C. W. Abbey.

Willowdale Township: W. G. Lewis, 1869, followed in 1869, by G. W. Garten and William Campbell.

Hayes Township: L. K. Warnock, G. B. Smith and the Thissters.

Garfield Township: K. G. Fleming, A. R. Cormach and J. H. Carkhuff, 1870.

Wheatland Township: Henry Baker and Orlando Bonner, 1870.

Lincoln Township: H. Whitley and William Frost in 1859.

The first birth and the first death that took place int he county occurred in the family of C. F. Staatz, on Lyon Creek. The birth was that of C. F. Staatz, Jr., which occurred on the 24th day of June, 1857, and his place of birth was the emigrant wagon with which his parents had moved into the county, the log cabin into which the family afterwards moved, not being completed at the time. The first death was that of Julia Staatz, a child of Mr. and Mrs. C. F. Staatz, which occurred in October, 1857. The first marriage in the county was that of David Beigart to Miss J. F. Staatz, in 1859, so that the Staatz family had the first birth, the first death, and furnished one of the contracting parties to the first marriage that took place in the county. The first school organized in the county was in Liberty Township, on Lyon Creek, in 1859, the first teacher being William Mueller, or Miller.

The first church built in the count was by the German Methodists, who erected one of logs on Lyon Creek early in the spring of 1861, and which served the double purpose of being used as a church on Sunday and a schoolhouse during the week. Of this first church Rev. Peter May was pastor. The first instrument recorded in the county, as shown by the books in the office of the Register of Deeds bears date February 23, 1859, and is a deed from Samuel Shively to N. B. White, G. W. Churchill, and H. M. Rulison, conveying the northeast quarter of Section 3, Township 13, Range 3 east, of land in Kansas Territory, containing 165.55 acres, the consideration being $500.

The first store opened in the county was by "old Man Jones" at Abilene in 1860, which was a kind of country store and saloon combined.

The first hotel built in the county was the Drovers' Cottage by Joseph G. McCoy, in 1866, at Abilene, of which the first landlord was Col. Gore, who bought the house in 1868, and who continues to run the house still, under the name of the Cottage.

The first newspaper published in the county was the Chronicle, established at Abilene, February, 1870, by V. P. Wilson.


The manufactories in the county are but few, although there are several good water powers in the county that might be profitably and advantageously utilized. The largest manufacturing establishment in the county, aside from the flouring mills, is the soap factory in the suburbs of Abilene. It is not a mammoth establishment, but it does quite an amount of business, and makes all kinds of soap, from choice toilet to the long yellow bar.

The Abilene Foundry and Machine Works is quite an establishment, and does an extensive business. The business was established in 1879, by Whitehurst & Co., but prior to that time Mr. Whitehurst had been engaged in carrying on a blacksmith shop and carriage manufactory, which, in addition to the foundry and machine works, he still conducts. Connected with the foundry establishment is a planing mill and several turning lathes. The combined business gives employment to quite a number of men.

In the summer of 1882, Mr. Jones & Son started an establishment, on a small scale, in the suburbs of Abilene, for the manufacture of wind-mills, in which they employ several hands. A similar institution is carried on at Enterprise, which was established, in 1882, by Teets & Bros., who are doing a good business. The Monarch is the name of the mill they manufacture. There are twelve flouring mills in the county, the greater portion of which run continually night and day. The mill at Industry, on the north line of the count, owned by J. C. Kesseburn, is a large frame building, with five run of stone, and does a large milling business. It is located on Chapman Creek.

Sutphen's Mill is also on Chapman Creek, about six miles north of Chapman Village. This is also a wooden building, and of small capacity, having only two run of buhrs.

The woodbine Mill, erected in 1872, and owned by J. A. Gillett, is a wooden structure, with four run of stones, and does quite an extensive local business. It is located at the village of Woodbine, near the junction of the east and west branches of Lyon Creek.

L. Schleagle owns and operates a small two-run mill on Turkey Creek, in the south part of Newbern Township. The building is frame, and its business strictly local. It was erected in 1874.

The Enterprise Mills, owned by C. Hoffman & Son, are quite extensive. One is a frame building, with three run of buhrs, and the other is a stone building, which was erected in 1873, and run for several years as a woolen mill, after which it was converted into a flouring mill, with all the latest and most approved machinery. These mills do an immense business, and run nearly night and day the year round, except Sundays. The frame mill is 40 x 60 feet and fifty-four feet high. The stone mill is 40 x 80 feet and seventy feet high, having four stories and a basement. This mill has seven run of stones. They are among the finest mills in the State.

The Abilene Mill is a water-powered mill, and is located on the smoky Hill River, about two miles south of the city of Abilene. It was erected by Kiddon Bros, in 1873, and has four run of buhrs.

The City Mills at Abilene were erected by Peter Marx in 1879. It is a frame mill, 35 x 40 feet, and three stories high, with a basement. The present proprietors are Stoddard & Humphrey. It is a steam mill, with four run of stones. The engine is of forty-five-horse power, and the capacity of the mill is seventy-five barrels per day.

The Dickinson County Mills are located in Abilene. They have just been completed, and are about starting into operation. These mills were built by a chartered company, known as the Johntz & Rice Mill Co. The main building is 40 x 60 feet, with an L, 16 x 24 and four stories high, irrespective of the basement. The mill has thirteen run of buhrs, and is supplied throughout with the latest improved machinery. Excepting the engine and boiler-room, which is of brick, the other portions are solidly constructed frame-work. The engine is of 125-horse power.

The Solomon Valley Mill, located at Solomon City, was erected in 1872 by William Smith. It is a water mill, and a better location for power could not be desired. It is built at the confidence of the Solomon and Smoky Hill rivers, is 30 x 50 feet, three stories high, has six run of buhrs, is supplied with the latest improved machinery, and manufactures 200 barrels of flour per day.

The National Salt Works at Solomon city constitute one of the finest manufacturing industries in the county. $60,000 have been expended on these works within the last two years, and though yet in their infancy, manufacture salt equal to that of Syracuse or Sagihaw, and when fully developed, can produce it in endless quantities, as the supply of brine is inexhaustible.

There are many excellent water privileges, lying idle, which could be profitably utilized, and no better opening could be desired for the establishment of one or two woolen mills.


Abilene - Grant Township, W. S. Hodges, Postmaster.

Solomon - Lincoln Township, D. W. Wilson, P. M.

Detroit - Center Township, S. E. Valle, P. M.

Enterprise - Center Township, F. H. Viering, P. M.

Chapman - Noble Township, Geo. Snyder, P. M.

Sutphens Mill - Noble Township, W. H. Sutphen, P. M.

New Chillicothe - Fragrant Hill Township, J. L. Kirby, P. M.

Industry - Cheever Township, Y. Monroe, P. M.

Cheever - Cheever Township, Thomas Ayers, P. M.

Keystone - Flora Township, Jonas Freet, P. M.

Poplar Hill - Flora Township, R. B. Lyday, P. M.

Carrollton - Holland Township, L. A. Peck, P. M.

Belle Springs - Newbern Township, Miss. M. Bolinger, P. M.

Newbern - Jefferson Township, Mrs. Wm. Murry, P. M.

New Basil - Jefferson Township, E. F. Haberline, P. M.

Rhodes - Banner Township, J. A. Seamans, P. M.

Midway - Banner Township, J. D. Fry, P. M.

Henry - Banner Township, J. D. Scott, P. M.

Dillon - Hope Township, B. F. Barnes, P. M.

Hope - Hope Township, Martin Pease, P. M.

Plympton - Ridge Township, D. M. Ross, P. M.

Rosebank - Hope Township, Donald McKay, P. M.

Redwood - Union Township, Dan'l Weaver, P. M.

Aroma - Union Township, A. D. Blanchett, P. M.

Woodbine - Liberty Township, H. B. Scott, P. M.

Lyona - Liberty Township, J. J. Muenzenmayer, P. M.


So far as known there has been but one case of lynching in the county, and this occurred in 1872. The circumstances that led to it are as follows: At that time there were two men in Abilene who were partners in the business of tailoring. Their names were Kelly and Johnson, and their shop was a small frame house on First street. Here they cooked, ate, slept and worked, this style of living being much less expensive than boarding. At that time there was a man living in the northern part of the county named Elsizer, where he would have the free use of Kelly's cooking utensils and dishes, and also the privilege of making himself a bed upon the floor at night. One Saturday Elsizer came to town and, as usual, stopped at Kelly's. Johnson had a claim out in the country, and before Elsizer came in he and Kelly had divided what cash they had, about $600, Johnson taking his portion with him out to his claim. Elsizer made himself at home as he usually did, but it so happened while he was there that an agent, by the name of Grimes, who occasionally went to Kelly's to have a smoke and a chat, stepped in to pay his customary visit. While he stayed there Elsizer cooked his supper, and while he was doing this Grimes left. Sunday came, and though Kelly did not make his appearance there was not much notice taken of it. Monday came, but Kelly's shop remained closed all day. Tuesday the neighbors began to suspect that there must be something wrong and broke open the door, when the first thing that met their gaze was the lifeless form of Kelly, with his head cleft open. Suspicion immediately fixed the deed upon Johnson. He had not been seen in town since Saturday, and Kelly's shop had not been open since Saturday night, and he must be the murderer. Johnson was arrested and found himself in a very critical position. Was he not Kelly's partner? Yes. Did he and Kelly not divide $600 between them on Saturday? Yes. Did he not know that Kelly had this money? Yes. Why should he go out to his claim at that particular time? Here was where the difficulty arose for Johnson, because nobody living on his claim, and there being no settlers in the vicinity of where his claim was located, to prove an alibi was impossible, and if ever an innocent man found himself in a tight place it was Johnson. At this stage of the proceedings Grimes made it known that he had seen Elsizer at Kelly's on Saturday evening, and saw him cook his supper there. There stood the table with one plate upon it and one cup and saucer, just as they had been used, and there was the frying pan with a little of the meat still in it that Elsizer had left. Suspicion now turned from Johnson to Elsizer, and the Sheriff started immediately for Elsizer's home. He found him gone, and then he pushed on for Junction City as fast as possible. Arrived there he gave a description of Elsizer to the ticket agent, and inquired if such a person had purchased a ticket. The agent told him hat a man answering to that description had purchased a ticket for Cincinnati but a short time ago, and would possibly take the next train. The Sheriff waited, and just as the train pulled into the depot Elsizer came in a great hurry to get on board, but just as his foot touched the first step of the car, the Sheriff took him by the shoulder and said, "I want you". He was brought back to Abilene, where he had a preliminary examination, and the evidence against him was conclusive. All of Kelly's money was found upon him except what he had paid for the ticket. On Friday night he was taken from the jail by a mob, and conveyed to Harvey's old mill, on Mud Creek, in the western part of town, where he was hung in one of the mill sheds. Next day he was found and an inquest held on his body, the verdict rendered being death by hanging, at whose hands to the jury unknown. Thus in one week, less one day, from the time Kelly was murdered, Elsizer, his murderer, was hanging a corpse in the shed of the mill.

[TOC] [part 5] [part 3] [Cutler's History]